Government, experts concerned over drop in average age of COVID-19 cases, crowding
The initial plan was for workers to be tested twice weekly, with the government and the employer each paying for one weekly test. That stirred a backlash from employers who do not want to pay.
The government is walking a delicate tightrope as it attempts to manage the recent opening of most social and economic activities while at the same time it is working to avert any flare up of the receding epidemic.
On the one hand the economy cannot endure an extension of restrictive measures and that is why tourism opened early on 15 May and on the other citizens are not prepared to abide by more protracted restrictions.
The data on the ground has raised concerns about a potentially explosive combination of newer, aggressive COVID-19 variants, the drop in the average age of new confirmed cases to 39, and the fact that there are more admissions of COVID-19 cases to hospitals than releases.
At the same time, the vaccine rollout in Greece, despite the fact that it has substantially sped up in the last weeks, remains below the European average as a percentage of the population and authorities are keenly aware of the need for vigilance and very rapid vaccination.
A somewhat alarming situation developed after the government opened up activities as young people have been crowding without masks or social distancing outside of bars and cafeterias and thus are creating the risk of backpedalling with fresh public health restrictions.
COVID-19 self-testing not enough, who would foot the bill?
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 self-tests that were rightly touted by the government as a useful tool for preventing major transmission of the virus has not yet allowed experts draw the necessary conclusions that could help stem transmission.
The government’s plan came up against an economic impasse regarding who pays for what. The initial provision was for workers to be tested twice weekly, with the government and the employer each paying for one weekly test.
That stirred a backlash from employers who simply do not want to pay their share. That, along with an inadequate supply of tests nationwide, led the government to retreat by declaring that it is not requiring but simply recommending to private sector employers that they submit employees to two self-tests a week.
Average age of new confirmed cases 39
Experts have shown particular concern both because of the potential damage from new variants of the virus and due to the drop in the average age of new cases.
Pervasive social crowding along with the drop of the average age of new cases to below 40 is by all accounts an explosive cocktail with which experts and the battered National Health System must grapple.